Once again Tanzania’s unpredictable electorate has surprised the nation. This was in the second and third by-elections under the multi-party system. The results of the Magu, (Mwanza Region) by-election, following the death of the late MP Mr Malaki Lupondije and the Morogoro North by-election, following the murder of Professor Nicas Mahinda MP, are given below. Some mystery surrounds the death of Professor Mahinda. The police have been quoted as saying that the MP was probably killed by a bullet from his own shotgun fired by his mason, Mr Franco William, while some 30 armed bandits were raiding the professor’s beach house in Dar es Salaam. Mr William was arrested.

MAGU, MWANZA (March 3, 1997):
John Cheyo – United Democratic Party (UDP) 30,737 (54.7%)
Dr. Festus Limbu – Chama cha Mapinduzi (CCM) 17,916 (31.9%)
Cosmas Chenyenge – National Convention for Constitution and Reform (NCCR- Mageuzi) 4,833 (8.6%)
Chasten Naswanyiwa – CHADEMA 596 (1.06%)
John Makoye – Civic United Front (CUF) 434 (0.84%)
Spoilt votes 1,671

MOROGORO NORTH (March 23, 1997):
Su1eiman Saddiq – CCM 24,076 (64.2%)
Theodori Mkwidu – NCCR-Mageuzi 9,780 (26.01%)
Constansio Mbena – CHADEMA 1,429 (3.8%)
Pastor Lungalame – CUF 709 (1.89%)
Bogor Ponera – UDP 551 (1.47%)

At first sight the Magu result looks like a purely tribal vote – Sukuma people voting for one of their own. But rural Tanzanians are accustomed to doing this. In the days of the one-party state, MP’s tended to look after their own areas and if they did this conscientiously they would be re-elected. In this case, Magu voters had the additional satisfaction of being able to vote for a local man who also held the prestigious position of National Chairman of his UDP party and had been a presidential candidate in the 1995 general election. The voters must have been bemused by the behaviour of Tanzania’s two main parties. CCM recruited as their candidate a well-known local businessman who had been the NCCR candidate for the seat during the general elections – which indicates how much more important personalities are than policies in Tanzania’s fledgling democracy. For the previously triumphant leading opposition party the NCCR-Mageuzi, still on a wave following its great victory in the Temeke by-election, the result was a disaster and a salutary lesson. The party had been strongly advised not to contest this by-election because Mr Cheyo had supported NCCR in the Temeke by-election and because of the need for the opposition parties to cooperate if they are ever to beat the CCM in the next general election. The NCCR announced that it had investigated the situation on the ground and had found that John Cheyo could not win. It then put in a massive effort in which virtually all its top leadership took part. But to no avail.

The Morogoro result is better understood when it is recalled that this seat has been won by Asian candidates in the past and also by the fact that former Secretary General of the CCM party Lawrence Gama is Regional Commissioner in Morogoro and must have been able to add his weight to the CCM campaign.

All Tanzania’s political parties have had headaches recently. For the CCM the loss of Magu was a severe blow but regaining Morogoro North must have raised morale.

The dramatic news about the death of its former Secretary General Mr Horace Kolimba (see Obituaries) at the precise time at which he had been summoned by the party’s Central Committee to explain his public criticisms of the party’s ‘lack of vision’, created a great shock. Comments on his views had varied from an accusation that he was a traitor to the party to more moderate expressions of opinion to the effect that he was right and that the party should be more open in discussing its aims and policies.

The CCM has also been embarrassed over an apparent recurrence of the kind of authoritarian action which was common in the days of the one-party state. The ‘Sunday News’ reported that on February 28, that, in spite of protests from some seven local and international journalists’ associations, Mr Adam Mwaibabile, a journalist in Songea, had been sentenced to one year in prison for ‘possessing confidential government documents’. The ‘document’ was apparently a letter from the former Regional Commissioner directing the Songea Municipal Director not to issue a business licence to the journalist, to enable him to run a stationery shop. According to the East African, the National Security Act of 1970 under which he was jailed had been criticised as long ago as 1992 by Chief Justice Nyalali as unconstitutional, oppressive and not fit to remain on the statute book. On March 14 the ‘Business Times’ reported that a squad of Dar es Salaam University dons had flown to Songea to take up the case. An appeal was subsequently launched in the High Court which decided that this was a civil case and Mr Mwaibabile was released, after one month in prison, pending further court consideration.

The split in the NCCR-Mageuzi party between the intellectuals like Mr Mabere Marando (who was briefly arrested at the Morogoro by-election for holding an illegal meeting) and the leader of the party, Mr Augustine Mrema, because the former do not believe that Mrema has the educational calibre to be the party’s presidential candidate in the next general election, is coming more into the open. When they appear together in public, the very popular Mr Mrema is usually loudly applauded but Mr Marando is not. The loss of two key by-elections must have added strains to party unity.

Meanwhile, the mainland and island branches of the Civic United Front (CUF) have apparently split. The mainland branch announced on January 22 that it was prepared to recognise Dr. Salmin Amour as President of Zanzibar, something which is totally unacceptable to the island branch of the Party. The previous day, fierce fighting involving knives, stones and bare hands had broken out at the Dar es Salaam meeting. The intruders were accused of being spies from the party’s top leadership in Zanzibar. The meeting was stopped by police.

The sudden re-emergence of the fiery Rev. Christopher Mtikila on to the political scene has created something of a sensation. Mtikila became very popular in the past with his extreme views on many issues, his attacks on non-indigenous Tanzanians and his vigorous denunciation of the Union between the mainland and Zanzibar, but he has been keeping a low profile for a long time. He was the first prominent opponent of the government when multi-partyism was introduced in 1992. He has tried since then to have his ‘Democratic Party’ registered but, as he refuses to accept the Union, this has always been refused. On March 31 he announced that he had joined the CHADEMA party and he was then selected to fight the Ludewa by-election scheduled for May 25 as the CHADEMA candidate. As this issue of TA goes to press, he has been arrested for allegedly inciting people to act violently and making false allegations against government leaders. Mtikila’s acceptance as a member of CHADEMA may be partly explained by the absence in hospital in Nairobi of Edwin Mtei, the party’s leader, and the growing influence of more radical members.

Election petitions which could lead to further by-elections are underway in Rungwe West where the advocate for the NCCR petitioner complained that the defending CCM MP had appointed two advocates; he requested the judge not to demand two lots of costs if he lost the case (laughter); in Ukonga, Dar es Salaam, where the CCM MP is alleged to have bribed voters by offering home brewed gin (gongo) to a football team; in Ilala, Dar es Salaam where the case has been making very slow progress during recent weeks; in Muleba, Bukoba where it was claimed that 13,330 registered voters did not vote because of poor control at polling stations; and at Kibaha where there was a long debate in court as to whether former CCM Secretary General Lawrence Gama could be admitted as a witness – eventually he was.

As this issue goes to press a by-election is underway in Kishapu (Shinyanga)which is close to Mr Cheyo’s home district of Bariadi. The death of Mr Horace Kolimba will mean a by-election in the Ludewa constituency on the northern shores of Lake Malawi and the resignation of Jospeh Warioba to take up an international post will mean a by-election in Musoma district

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.